Beware of "cash for crash" scam, warns IAM

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has issued a timely warning about the appalling cash for crash scam, whereby criminals cause accidents in order to make false insurance claims.

We covered the case recently of the crook jailed for 250 deliberate accidents, but there are still plenty of others out there.

The IAM has come up with some handy tips to protect innocent drivers:

• Always look ahead and anticipate hazards
• Keep a safe following distance from the car in front
• Beware of tailgaters. The car behind you will try to get your attention so you don’t concentrate on the driver in front. Pay attention to the vehicles around you and if you feel threatened by a tailgater, pull over somewhere safe to let them past.
• Keep an eye out for local news – criminal gangs doing this tend to use the same locations a lot. Local news can suggest where it is.

If you are involved in one, remember:

• If you’re suspicious, don’t ask them directly about it at the scene.
• Try to take photos of the damage – discreetly if possible, get a description of the driver and count the number of people in the other vehicle.
• If you need the emergency services, call 999.
• Stay calm. You’ll need to swap details with other drivers.

Head of training at the IAM, Simon Elstow said: “Crash for cash scams are costing the insurance industry millions of pounds. Collisions are stressful and emotionally draining but it’s important to be prepared in case you are involved in one.”

“Despite high profile sentencing for these scams in the past, they’re still happening. Make sure you follow this advice to ensure you know what to do if you’re ever involved in one.”